Hmm... I'm getting a wee bit worried about one of the gigs on the tour.
I know I'm going to be exhausted but I want to try and perform a show every night because in some ways I think it's easier to maintain momentum that way. A night off can be like letting the elastic out of the system and it gets harder to wind yourself up to top gear the next day.
Organising the shows has been a far more complicated affair than normal. With a normal tour you go wherever theatres want you. You play when they're available... which is why on most tours you see people going from Southampton to Glasgow to Portsmouth to Newcastle or whatever. If that's when the theatre is available, you fit it in. But with the cycling tour that obviously isn't possible. Every venue has to be within range of the last and the minute one gig was firmed up in the diary all of the others had to fall into place. The only sensible date for a gig in Preston was the day after the Manchester gig and so on. There have been one or two venues along the way who've bent over backwards to accommodate the peculiar circumstances - and I'm hugely grateful to them for that.
In the long stretch after Exeter travelling out east to Lowestoft then north as far as Lancaster the country is well populated and there are so many good sized towns dotted around the place that if we couldn't find a venue available on a given day we were able to look elsewhere and take a slightly different route instead.
But after Glasgow there really isn't that much versatility available. The route takes me out to Ardnamurchan - the most westerly point of the mainland - and then back across the country heading north and east and it's not exactly overflowing with people or towns which is why some of the venues are a little more improvised. I'm not complaining about that, I really like the fact that doing a tour in this unconventional way has led me to play in such a wide variety of venues. There can't be many tours that take in halls ranging from 30 to 2000 seats.
One of the trickiest to arrange has been Ardlui. There isn't really another town in range that day and they don't have a community centre or village hall or similar. In fact we were told they were trying to raise the money to build one. So we suggested that if we could find a makeshift venue for the evening we'd donate the money raised to the fund. I thought we'd found a solution - and we probably have - but the trail seems to have gone a little cold.
While the local paper seems to have confirmed that the show is welcome at the Ardlui Hotel, we're finding it rather difficult to actually speak to anyone from the hotel itself. I reckon it's just us fussy London media types panicking unnecessarily but I'm told that a lot of phone messages have been left and e-mails sent without reply and it's really difficult to trust that the show is definitely happening without actually speaking to someone to confirm it. Fingers crossed.
And if you're in Ardlui, could you tap on the window as you pass by and let them know we're coming.